COM 563
Ethics for Professionals

Course Instructor:

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Text and Resources:

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Textbooks:  Moral Philosophy (Rachels) and Ethics in Human Communication (Johannesen et. al.), plus assigned readings each week


Course Overview

This course will focus on both individual and institutional strategic communication ethics, and will consider the following questions: ?What are the ethical virtues of character and the central ethical standards that should guide individual choices?? ?What are the ethical standards and responsibilities that should guide the communication of organizations and institutions?public and private, corporate, governmental, and professional??


Course Goals

Students will understand and be able to discuss and apply key theories of individual and institutional ethics, and will be able to articulate and defend their ethical reasoning.


Course Work

Each unit will consist of several readings, both classical and contemporary, and discussion on an overarching topic.

Participation in weekly discussion

Communication Ethics for Professionals is a participation-based class.  Students will do much of their learning through group discussion.  Each week?s discussion will center on several specific questions, or prompts, from the assigned readings. The participation grade must be earned through consistently demonstrating understanding of the readings, asking thoughtful questions, being able to answer questions, and constructively engaging in group discussion and activities. The participation grade (50% of the final grade) will be based both on the quality and the regularity of participation.

Leading discussion

Once during the semester each student will have the opportunity to tailor the class and introduce classmates to topics and ethical dilemmas specifically relevant to the individual student. To that end, each student will choose a specific topic and assign relevant readings for the class, and lead a thoughtful discussion on that topic. The ?leading discussion? grade is worth 25% of the final grade. If you are *not* leading the week's discussion, you will read at least 5 separate discussion topics from your peers. You will pick 5 separate topics, read their material, and provide a response post to the discussion.

Final written outline and presentation

The final project has two components: a written outline and a presentation. Students will apply ethical principles to real-life professional situations by using those principles to analyze and critique the choices of an individual or organization in a specific violation of communication ethics. The project will consist of a summary of the situation, an explanation of the ethical principles and theories relevant to the situation, and an analysis of the various choices available and the choice that was made, using the relevant ethics principles. The written outline is worth 10% of the final grade, while the presentation is worth 15% and will be about 15 minutes long.  Information about the presentation medium will be presented in the assignment.


Instructor Interaction

You can expect responses to emails or questions received within 2-3 business days.


Late Work Policy

Work (discussion posts, final projects. etc.) will be due at 11:59 p.m. on the due date. Late work will not be accepted or graded.


Grading

As this is a graduate-level Communication course, I have high expectations for your work. Assignments will be graded on both content and writing/presentation. If you have questions about any assignment, please ask. Each assignment will be graded using a published rubric, which typically will award points for various elements of the assignment based on whether those elements meet the basic criteria, demonstrate proficient work, or are exemplary.  Please see the individual assignment rubrics for more detail.

Course Work Percent of Final Grade
Participation in weekly discussion 50%
Leading discussion 25%
Final project outline and presentation 25%


Grade Percent Grade Percent
A 93 and above C 73-76.99%
A- 90-92.99% C- 70-72.99%
B+ 87-89.99% D+ 67-69.99%
B 83-86.99% D 60-66.99%
B- 80-82.99% F 0-59.99%
C+ 77-79.99%          

Academic Integrity

Cheating and academic misconduct are defined in WSU's Academic Integrity Policy, which can be found in the WSU Student Handbook (WAC 504-26-202?Acts of Dishonesty and WAC 504-26-010--Definitions).  It is your responsibility to read and understand these definitions.  Lack of knowledge is not an excuse for academic misconduct.

Plagiarism and other forms of cheating and/or academic misconduct will not be tolerated.  The Murrow College?s minimum penalty for an academic dishonesty violation of WSU's Standards of Conduct for Students is a zero on the assignment or test without an option to make up the points lost. In addition, college policy requires that a full letter-grade be deducted from the final grade earned in the class.  The College?s maximum penalty is failure of the course.  Additionally, I will report all instances of academic misconduct to the Office of Student Conduct, which may institute its own sanctions, including expulsion from the university.  

I define plagiarism as the re-use of your own work for this or another class (self-plagiarism) or appropriation of another?s language, thoughts, ideas or creation, and representation of them as one?s own.  For further explanation of plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct, please see https://conduct.wsu.edu/ and http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=504-26

In addition to the above information on academic dishonesty, please remember that as a WSU student you are always accountable to the Student Code of Conduct, which can be found here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=504-26


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